52 things I’ve learned this year

The results of a year-long experiment in 2018 where I’ve recorded all of my learnings.

Photo by Art Lasovsky on Unsplash

Last year I’ve read this experiment by Tré Wee, who had recorded all of his learnings of 2018 and trimmed it down to 52, one per week. It inspired me to do the same, because as he says;

“Since one of the key purposes of reflection is to learn from previous experiences, to do it effectively means that we need to do two things,

  1. Remember as accurately as possible what has happened, at the point of reflection.
  2. Assimilate the information from the reflection in a way that we can remember it in the future.”

To make you understand more about my thoughts behind the quotes, I’ve added notes or hyperlinks wherever I could.

So, without further ado. Here is my selection of 52 learnings of 2018:


1. Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must be awaken. — Frank Herbert

2. No More Zero Days — Reddit

Note: be sure to check out the whole post and the thought process behind it


3.The illiterate of the 21st century are not those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn. — Alvin Toffler

4. Harbouring your resentment is allowing someone you don’t like to live inside your head without paying any rent. — Abraham Twerski

5. You don’t need to know anything. Everything you need to know, you’ll figure it out when you need to know it. Even if you miscalculate and make the wrong decision, you needed to know that. — Jerry Seinfeld

6. We need women who can be so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined so they can be free.” — Kavita Ramdas

7. Mom says it’s a good thing that we are growing. So we can fit in everything that we are learning. — Given (Netflix documentary)

8. We become what we think about. — Earl Nightingale

9. The reasonable people adapt to society, and the unreasonable people adapt society to themselves therefore all progress is determined by the unreasonable. 
— Emil

10. Understanding you can’t truly take credit for your successes, nor truly blame others for their failures will humble you and make you more compassionate.

11. Learning: a change in behaviour or capability as a result of memory. Memory: the encoding of an affective reaction to an experience, which allows for the experience to be reconstructed.

12. Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others. — Chögyam Trungpa

13. If you can maintain your sense of humour and a distrust of the rules laid down around you, there will be success.” — Chögyam Trungpa

Note: via the truly inspiring Soulpancake Claire’s last days documentary


14. Excuses are the obstructions that become the reason for you to abandon your dreams. — Casey Neistat

15. When you compromise and you fail, it really hurts. It hurts even more than failing at what you love. — Jim Carrey

16. Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it. — Maya Angelou

17. The point of reading isn’t to memorize, and it’s certainly not to critique. It’s to absorb and filter with an open mind — to find the right thing at the right time so that you can improve and update your existing model of reality rather than mould whatever you’re reading to fit into it as it is. — Zat Rana

18. The pathway of your greatest potential is straight through your greatest fear.

19. There are three things you must always ask yourself before you say anything. Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said by me? Does this need to be said by me now? — Craig Ferguson

20. The only logical way to improve the world is through improving ourselves. — Kant

21. I suppose I should lean into feeling shit at something for a while, so I can work through it, and come out better. — Dodie

22. Thank you, Lord for Aretha: She was strong in her spirit, pure in her heart, generous in her giving, sweet in her compassion, calm in her demeanour, gentle in her touch, powerful in her embrace. Thank you for Aretha: She was wise in her advice, bold in her speech, classy in her walk, stylish in her apparel, faithful in her service, loving to her family, loyal to her faith, and submissive to her God. Thank you for Aretha: She was a bright and shining star, she was an image of hope larger than life, she was a soldier, a trouper, an encourager, a good and faithful servant. Thank you for Aretha: She charmed us, she thrilled us, she entertained us, she inspired us, she motivated us, she helped us, she blessed us, one and all. Thank you, Lord, for Aretha: Lord you gave us a Queen, a trouper, a true queen, royalty at its best, and we thank you.” — Dr E.L. Branch

Note: I was absolutely mesmerized by Aretha Franklin’s funeral. Especially the beautiful cadence of the words by Dr E.L. Branch


23. The only thing between you and your dreams is your effort. — T.I.

24. Never compare your insides with somebody else’s outsides.

25. Comparison is the thief of joy

26. Experience does for the soul what education does for the mind. — Casey Neistat

27. I would rather want to be optimistic and wrong than pessimistic and right. — Elon Musk

Note: from the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, listen for 3 hours and learn a whole lot


28. There’s nothing noble about being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is being superior to your former self. — Ernest Hemingway

29. I’ve learned to do what you want in life. Because if you do, the world will change to match you. — Humans of New York

30. If you’re worried about keeping your word, remember your boundaries are also your word, your integrity. — Tweet from Erynn Brook

Note: a beautiful story about a woman remembering a moment where her mother empowered her for life


31. What other people think of me, is none of my damn business. — RuPaul

32. Dolce far niente. The sweetness of doing nothing. — Eat Pray Love

33. It’s not what we don’t know that gets us in trouble. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so. — Mark Twain

34. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

35. In my opinion, worrying means you suffer twice. — Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

36. Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. — Michelle Obama

Note: if you read anything in the coming weeks, make sure it’s ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama


37. Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. –Charles Swindoll

38. The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. –Alice Walker

39. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. –Maya Angelou

40. The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

41. I judge you unfortunate because you have never lived through misfortune. You have passed through life without an opponent — no one can ever know what you are capable of, not even you.— Seneca

42. Be who you needed when you were young.

43. If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. — Jim Rohn

44. If on this side of life I’m able to watch over and help you out, know that I will. If I can’t, I’m sure I can at least be waiting for you when you come over.

45. It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.―John Joseph Powell

46. The one who does not work for change cannot complain if change never comes.

47. The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about these circumstances.” ― Andrew J. Bernstein

48. Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well-ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.” — Seneca the Younger

49. How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you.

50. Give this moment your attention — and affection. — Alex Blackwell

51. A good listener is very nearly as attractive as a good talker. You cannot have a beautiful mind if you do not know how to listen. — Edward De Bono

52. Find yourself, and be that

Guide To Doing-It-Yourself by Tré Wee

How I do it and how you can do it

How I do it

I learned via Tre Wee’s post to use two apps for this, IFTTT’s Do Button and Evernote.

How you can do it

Creating a recipe on Do Button which saves to Evernote makes logging down your learnings very easy. It also encodes the timestamps, which is very helpful.

If you prefer to use a physical notebook, I’d recommend using a special notebook specifically for this.

If your primary tool fails you. I use a note app on my phone. Or scribble it on a piece of paper.


Let me know if you’re starting next year, I’m definitely doing this again! 🙌